Sunday, July 21, 2013

What in the World Are We Here For?

So often, we become wrapped up in the the daily grind of life, and we forget all about the mission that God has entrusted us with.  All around us are people in desperate need of being reconciled to their Creator, yet we are too busy to notice.  Too busy to remember the power of the God who drew us to Himself.  Unencumbered by their daily routines, God gave our team members a clear view of His call, and the might and power that are ours through the Holy Spirit.  These are some of their stories:

Meagan, 18, shares her favorite story: "I went to Cecilia's house and shared the gospel with her and her husband, Peter. They loved God's story. I asked if they knew where they were going when they died, and they were taken back a little bit. Peter said 'no,' so I explained heaven and hell. They weren't ready to accept Christ, so I asked if there was anything that they needed me to pray for. Cecilia pointed to her little baby who was sick with malaria; the baby was laying there barely awake or moving. I prayed over the baby and said I would come back tomorrow to see them and check on baby Justine.  They also said their 16-year-old boy sitting was mentally challenged since birth. I was running late, so I said I would pray for him the next day!  When I returned, the husband wasn't there, but Justine was looking a little better. I sat and talked with Cecilia and then prayed over Frank, who looks and acts like he's 5 years old. It was very heartbreaking to see him sitting there not active and drool coming from his mouth.  Cecilia told me that he won't let anybody touch him but her, so praying over him wasn't easy. I went back again and was surprised to see Justine crawling around and playing, perfectly healthy! I just wanted to thank God for healing Cecilia's precious baby girl. I talked with Cecilia and prayed over Frank again and then left. On Thursday, Cecilia finally accepted Christ and I was so excited!! I prayed over Frank again and could see a huge difference in him. He was walking around and trying to talk. I went back again and sat with Cecilia again. She kept thanking me for coming back every single day and showing love for her and her children. Justine was as happy as ever and Frank was looking great, playing, trying to talk, smiling, and walking around.  He was still drooling, but he was letting me touch him and kept going into the house and finding little gifts for me (even if it was just a bean or piece of plastic). Cecilia told me that she could see a huge difference in him since I had been praying for him, and I told her that it was just God working. I grew extremely close to Cecilia and her beautiful family and was sad to leave them, But I know that God is watching over them and that one day Frank will be healed." As we show love, walls are broken down, and reconciliation between God and Cecilias can take place.

Sterling and Anahi, a young, newly engaged couple who served in Uganda, share some of their thoughts: "Thank you. I could say it a hundred times, and still not have said it enough. Thank you. Thank you from our team. Thank you from pastor Benjamin, a Ugandan who was in the village with us, and who marveled at the sight of the works of God. Thank you from pastor Molly, who will be leading the church that you helped plant there, in Mkandwa. Thank you from Sandy and Richard, two young men who were healed physically in Mkandwa. And thank you from Saidat, Sekamanya, Peter, Waswa, and the dozens of others who were healed spiritually, who were redeemed and brought back to relationship with their Creator, and who are pursuing to know Him further through the study of His Word still today.

God saved many people in the surrounding villages of Masaka, Uganda, because you participated as senders and prayers. One lady in Anahi's village named Ida was a 50-year-old woman who lived in a hut with her brother because her only son stole her money and ran away. God saved Ida the week we were in her village, Masambya, and she is now attending a discipleship group with another girl in her village. Ida is such a sweet grandma to all the children in the village, and we all will continue to pray that God will use her in amazing ways as well as by sharing God's love story with all the children in her village.

Uganda was David, Susannah, and their four children's first mission trip. It was a joy to watch God us this family in a powerful way. David served with two of his children, Mary Frances (14) and Will (9), while Susannah ministered with Blake (17) and Louisa (11) in a neighboring village. Here are a few of their stories:

·         Louisa was speaking to a woman in Saaza village on Friday and she told Louisa that, “Some blond-haired boy much too young is sharing the Gospel in Gayaza.”  These two villages are almost 15 miles away from each other and yet The Word spreads quickly.  I’m so glad we didn’t cheat Will from this amazing experience in Uganda by leaving him behind because he was too young.

·         Susannah spoke to a well-versed older man for hours over a few days who was skeptical about Jesus; after a few days and much prayer with his wife, the husband and wife, Charles and Harriett, asked Susannah to come in to their home, “We’ve been waiting for you.”  She continued studying the bible with them and, sometime after, he told her interpreters that he was ready to accept Jesus Christ.  His wife cried and the rest of the team did also.  They told Susannah that they were both HIV-positive but their outlook on life was forever changed knowing they now had accepted God’s gift of everlasting life and forgiveness.  We gave them no money or food or any other benefit.  Only the greatest gift of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and God graced them to accept this gift by faith.  They were overjoyed and later he became the Person of Peace for the village of Saaza, who will lead the people there to create a new church.

·         On the trip to the airport in Entebbe, we had to pass through a security checkpoint where they always require you to get out of the vehicle for inspection.  As we rolled down the window to speak to one of the stern looking Ugandan Military Police holding an AK-47 machine gun, our driver said, “These are missionaries.  They are heading home now to America.”  At first, Susannah and I started looking around for who he was talking about.  We had never ever thought of ourselves as missionaries.   It felt like we were in a movie.  And yet I asked the officer as he contemplated, “Are you a follower of Jesus Christ?”  He responded with a big smile, “I am born again!  You may pass.”

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